Increased expression of N2BA titin corresponds to more compliant myofibrils in athlete’s heart

Dalma Kellermayer, Bálint Kiss, Hedvig Tordai, Attila Oláh, Henk L. Granzier, Béla Merkely, Miklós Kellermayer, Tamás Radovits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Long-term exercise induces physiological cardiac adaptation, a condition referred to as athlete’s heart. Exercise tolerance is known to be associated with decreased cardiac passive stiffness. Passive stiffness of the heart muscle is determined by the giant elastic protein titin. The adult cardiac muscle contains two titin isoforms: the more compliant N2BA and the stiffer N2B. Titin-based passive stiffness may be controlled by altering the expression of the different isoforms or via posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation. Currently, there is very limited knowledge about titin’s role in cardiac adaptation during long-term exercise. Our aim was to determine the N2BA/N2B ratio and post-translational phosphorylation of titin in the left ventricle and to correlate the changes with the structure and transverse stiffness of cardiac sarcomeres in a rat model of an athlete’s heart. The athlete’s heart was induced by a 12-week-long swim-based training. In the exercised myocardium the N2BA/N2B ratio was significantly increased, Ser11878 of the PEVK domain was hypophosphorlyated, and the sarcomeric transverse elastic modulus was reduced. Thus, the reduced passive stiffness in the athlete’s heart is likely caused by a shift towards the expression of the longer cardiac titin isoform and a phosphorylation-induced softening of the PEVK domain which is manifested in a mechanical rearrangement locally, within the cardiac sarcomere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11110
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • AFM
  • Athlete’s heart
  • Cardiac myofibril
  • Titin
  • Transverse stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased expression of N2BA titin corresponds to more compliant myofibrils in athlete’s heart'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this